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Trip report - Baltimore Show


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Having nothing on my slate, and a few bucks in my pocket, I decided to spend a nice leisurely day at the Baltimore Coin and Currency show. This show lists about 250 dealers and, I am told, is one of the larger shows in the USA. I have been to three of the last four and enjoyed each trip. This time, I was less focused on finding a specific coin than previous visits. I did have quite a few coins on a want list, but then most of us always do.


I found the usual nearby parking at a bargain $8 all day – a quick block and half in the already sweltering heat and I was there - arriving soon after the doors opened for the day and greeted by some wonderful air conditioning. The hall was crowded and remained so for the day, but it was manageable. Tons and tons of great coins – I love it.


After settling down, I started out spending some time around the Ancients. Very nice selection, but I did not buy any. I have a small number of Ancients and maintain an interest in late Roman Empire bronze coins. I saw so many high grade beauties that, ironically, the area became even more daunting. I spent a good 30 minutes talking with Mr. Barry Murphy, a very friendly and knowledgeable gentleman. He has a wealth of information and I really appreciate his willingness to share. He also had a couple really beautiful Constantine I examples that I still want! I believe he mentioned that he was up on VCoins [ http://www.Vcoins.com] and I shall keep an eye out for him. I had always wondered about how coins received a “silver wash”. Many Roman bronze coins have (or had) a thin silver coating commonly called a silver wash. I even have an example. He showed me a few examples in various states. My question is, how did they (the Romans) make the wash – what was the process. He told me that it is still unknown exactly what process was used, thus, the mystery remains. He also had a recent copy of the Celator that he kindly gave me. A real nice guy.


Next, I was off to fill a few holes in my Roosevelt dime collection. It was easy to locate the bins likely to yield my prey and in no time at all, I had what I needed to complete my album. WooHoo.


In hole-filling mode, I proceeded to do the same with my Kennedy half collection. None of these dates are expensive, but either I search a ton of circulated rolls, and hope, or I order straight from an advertisement. I vastly prefer seeing the coins in person, taking my time and picking through a number of examples. So, a while later, I had the remaining holes filled with MS examples in that collection as well. WooHoo again.


My most expensive purchase was an 1875-S twenty-cent piece. This was the last entry needed to complete an obsolete “odd” denomination US type set that I had been working on. They are in high demand as type coins and it is not so easy to find a lower grade example that is not painfully cleaned or damaged. After inspecting about 20-25 examples, I found a nice one, and after a polite haggling request made the purchase. I will try and post some pics of the set that this one completes.


Next up was to get in line at the ANACS booth. One of their graders was available to give free “opinions” on grades and varieties. It is, of course, unofficial, but it is free and it is an expert opinion by a regular ANACS grader. I have previously posted a 1938-D Jefferson nickel here with some doubling – particularly prominent on the mint mark (see it here ->) 1938-D Doubling? and I wanted to get an expert opinion. The line was maybe eight-deep when I entered, but several people ahead of me had what seemed like 10-20 coins for the single grader to look at – I was starting to think that this would not be happening for me. What a nice surprise… another attendant from ANACS would come by and grab people in line that only had 1-2 coins and have the grader look at them every few coins during the larger requests – a great policy. So, soon it was my turn…and the verdict… MDD (Machine Damage Doubling). Ahhh… adding to my repertoire of information and experience.


I have had a Seated Liberty Dollar on my want list for a long time. I located two examples in VG that I very strongly considered. It has been very hard for me to find an affordable example for my type set that looks decent. Both of these (particularly an 1859-O) were plenty decent and were less than $200. I equivocated for a long time and then reasoned that my indecision suggested more patience was required. Maybe next time.


My final purchase was a whimsical indulgence of $2 for this set of miniatures that you see here (I added the Zincoln so you can see just how tiny these guys are).


Talk about a mini type set :ninja: , I laughed out loud when I saw them – quite cool.


If it wasn't so &*#%$ hot, I would have headed to the inner harbor and picked up some crabcakes, but all in all, it was a very enjoyable day. Every dealer I spoke with was friendly and I saw not a single incident of dealer-rage. There was a fantastic number and variety of coins to be had. I strongly recommend that if you can get to this show, or one like it, that you make the effort!

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Nice report. Thanks for sharing your good time with us. The Baltimore show has had a good rep for quite some time. I've never made it to that show but plan to one day.

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Good report. To me it seems rather rude for people to bring 20 coins for free opinions from the grader. People who have that many they can't grade themselves are too lazy to learn how to grade, I think.


It would be next to impossible for me to visit Baltimore without endiing up at Phillips' in the Inner Harbor.

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Fantastic report! :ninja:



I like coin shows, you get to see alot of stuff you might not otherwise see. I can't tell you the amount of very expensive gold coins i've handled that i'd never be able to buy in a million years. Nice big hammered gold coins from the milled ages and when they are loose in dealers trays you get the chance to actually handle the coin itself, it's superb!


Coin shows are good and i'm glad you enjoyed yours. As for the silver wash on Roman coins one method of silver 'plating' things that i have come across from my days as a mineral collector was basically by use of amalgam. Mercury and silver, mix together apply to coin and then bake it in an oven or something. I forget the exact method for sure but alchemists used this method of using mercury with thin strips of gold and sticking the gold to the mercury on the original copper base. Then they'd bake it. Of course they thought they'd created gold, what they'd actually done was a primitive form of gold plating. I reckon the Romans used amalgam when silver washing their coins.


Well that's my thought on it but i've never researched it. So you'd have to take that with a pinch of snuff.

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